Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) is a pan-Nordic media and entertainment company headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. They operate streaming services, advertising-funded TV and radio channels, engaging millions of people every day. 

Urban Löfbom is responsible for the roadmap for the Content Platform, a part of the Product and Tech organisation. They are responsible for all systems and processes from adding rights that NENT purchases from Content Providers to ensuring that all titles that are scheduled on linear and non-linear platforms have the correct metadata, images, media, subtitles and audio.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I work closely with several teams, mainly our two development teams and our infra team, but also with many stakeholders across NENT’s organisation.

The day starts with standup with the two development teams and most days consist of lot’s of meetings with developers, architects, suppliers and managers. Between the meetings I focus on planning coming activities and ensuring that ongoing activities are on track.

How has the shift from linear to on-demand viewing changed Nent’s metadata strategy?

More focus on high quality images and descriptive metadata. NENT also recently decided to partner with Gracenote in order to further strengthen the metadata we use to help customers find and enjoy their content.

What are the critical success factors in increasing on-demand viewing, beyond offering great content?

Good search and recommendation engine and ensuring the customer always has something they like to watch on their device of choice. The service we provide must be easy to use and deliver a great user experience, in terms of the UI, the quality of the streaming and the reliability of the service.

What are the major sources for driving traffic/viewers to your VOD platforms? 

NENT’s own content, such as Viaplay Originals and Viaplay Productions, as well as our superb sports offering.

With subscription VOD most content ends up behind paywalls, out of reach for Google and Recommendation Platforms. How can you make sure viewers find your programs when they search for them?

NENT works with our partners, including Google, Apple and Samsung, to ensure that our customers and potential customers can find our content wherever they want to consume it. NENT’s marketing team also works closely with our partners across the Nordics to promote NENT’s content for Telia, Telenor, Tele2, TDC and other distribution partners.

Netflix strategy is to keep all metadata on their own platforms, and not share with third parties. The obvious downside is that any site wanting to present Netflix’s offering has to produce their own information, or use scraping. What is your view on providing third-parties with metadata?

In order for our partners to be able to present our content in the best possible way, we believe in providing good metadata and images to our partners. Metadata geared towards search and recommendations beyond genres, we do not share with our partners to the same extent. The reason for not sharing this data is twofold: some of the search and recommendation data we are not allowed to share with partners, it is licensed to be used in the Viaplay product only. The other reason is that we want to drive usage towards Viaplay’s product and ecosystem.

Netflix also puts a lot of effort into personalizing the user experience, for instance by offering up to 50 images per episode to enable AI-driven presentation of all content. How important do you think personalization is? And what is Nent doing in this area?

Personalization is key. Apart from ensuring we improve personalization and content discovery I can’t go into details regarding NENT’s plans in this area since it is part of our secret sauce.

Viewers today have a real challenge finding what they want to watch. An Ericsson survey revealed that people spend up to 50 minutes per day, searching and browsing. What can Nent do to make this decision process easier?

As mentioned above we work hard on improving content discovery and our search and recommendations. Finding the content you want to watch is a challenge and one that we have several teams within the Viaplay production organisation working on in parallel.

Multinational media companies have a challenge in local adaptation of data. Can you elaborate on this a little? What works generically? What needs to be adapted? 

This is a difficult question and one that NENT is currently working on as part of our expansion into new territories. Personally I would say that you should strive to localize as much as possible but localization is often hindered by the sheer effort and cost, compared to the gain for that specific territory.

Can you also tell us about your view on standardized vs partner-specific metadata deliveries to third-parties?

We believe in standardizing the delivery of metadata as far as possible. This is one reason why we chose Public schedule as our metadata format both when working with Clipsource, NENT’s press systems partner, as well as in our third party VOD-deliveries.

Also read: Streaming Wars: Paradigm shift in Television Marketing

What is on top of your agenda this spring?

Ensuring we make good use of the metadata we source from Gracenote and reforming our media workflows in order to increase capacity and streaming quality.

Urban Löfbom in 30 seconds:

Family: Wife and three sons (15, 10, 7)
Years in the media business: Too many (16 I think)
Linear vs on-demand consumption: 5% linear 95% on demand
I am this TV drama: The Expanse (SciFi series on Amazon Prime for those who did not know that)
Genre I never watch: Horror
Guilty pleasure: Romantic comedies

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